Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

The American Spy:
or Freedom's Early Sacrifice.
A Revolutionary Tale of New England,
Founded upon Fact.
by J. R Simms.
Albany: J. Munselll 78 State Street 1857.

Donated by Willis Barshied, Jr.


" The face was young still; but its happy look
Was gone, the cheek had lost its color, and
The lip its smile; the light that once had played
Like sunshine in those eyes, was quenched and dim,
For tears had wasted it; her long dark hair
Floated upon her forehead, in loose waves,
Unbraided; and upon her pale thin hand
Her head was bent as if in pain, no trace
Was left of that sweet gaiety, which once
Seemed as if grief could darken not-as care
Would pass and leave behind no memory".-Landon.

War, the executive of the world's great slaughter-house, ever brings with it dread attendants; and although many, particularly such as can not be compelled to unfurl its bloody banner, may in a time of peace almost invite it as a state to be desired; still few, who have witnessed its inroads in the human family, its blighting curse on the morals of society, its great destruction of social relations and kindred ties; or few who can in prospective discriminate between the horrors of war or the blessing's of peace, will, without weighing every consequence, involve that country in ignoble conflict whose prosperity demands peace.

At length, after a long and doubtful contest, the war for American freedom of thought and act, one of the few wars justifiable by even one of the parties, was ended; and the minstrel of peace again turned her lyre over the graves of thousands of great and brave men fallen; the plow of the husbandman once more moved in its furrow of thrift; the hammer of the mechanic again resounded upon the anvil; and the chisel sought its mortise. Nearly four years before the dawn of this most welcome period, the German, Staudt bade a long farewell to his Windham county friends and journeyed westward, where he might better improve his geological and chemical talent. He ceased not his wanderings until he arrived in the beautiful valley of Schoharie, where, finding a friendly people who could converse with him in his native language, and an exhaustless mine of pyrites which he believed he could work to profit, he became a permanent resident. At a good old age did this mirth-making foreigner-called by some the money-digger, by others the money-maker, and by all who knew him clever Hans-descend to the chambers of that 'home,' which though narrow its portals, receives the world's dying millions. As his last request, he wished the silken purse presented him by Lucy Ripley, whose virtues and misfortunes he often dwelt upon with flowing tears, to be buried with him; and when placed in his coffin, the hand of a friend laid the keepsake upon his breast.

Our heroine, like the tender plant overtaken by early frost or crushed by some leaden weight, seemed withering under the terrible blow destiny had meted to her, but that religion which passeth knowledge, that trust in Jehovah which had sustained her heroic lover in the hour of trial, came also to her relief; and she recovered comfortable health; still the rose had left her cheek, and the vivacity and cheerfulness of youth were gone. She desired to live only that she might prove a comfort to her parents, or dispense blessings to the heart-stricken, whose misfortunes through poverty rendered them objects of charity.

For hours might the thoughtful Lucy have been seen alone, gazing with evident admiration on the works of nature, and holding sweet communion, in spirit, with him, who, in his almighty hand sustains the vast universe; and who in his guardian care watches over the victim of war with a germ immortal, and the wounded bird that perishes forever with its mysterious plum age. Quitting the society of the world, which had now lost its charms for her, she removed to the romantic and then wild banks of the Housatonic, and there ended her brief existence in deeds of charity to a remnant of that Indian tribe after whom the stream was called, as an exemplary Christian of the Moravian sisterhood.

The father of our hero, who became insane on learning the melancholy fate of his favorite son, lingered out several years of sickly existence; but he could not be restored to reason, and 'in sorrow did his gray hairs descend to the grave.'

Young Fitch, the classmate of our hero, who made the science of law his profession, in the spring of 1779, led to Hymen's altar the lovely Elizabeth Hale. He settled for life at Hartford, in which city his amiable wife became as much admired for her great personal worth, as he had formerly been in her native town.

The charming Julia Rose, who so fortunately rejected a suitor because a Tory, began on the 17th of October, 1780-the very day on which the mercenaries of Britain ravished the beautiful valley of Schoharie, then a frontier settlement of "Western" New York-to impart fragrance to Maj. Boynton, a worthy continental officer of her native state; and the writer is happy to add-long did that choice flower bloom in Tolland county, not only gracing the circles of beauty and fashion; but setting an example, as an industrious and tidy housekeeper, worthy the imitation of not a few fastidious, kitchen-hating housewives of the present day. The last account we can give of her is, she was seen knitting a small red stocking, her knitting-pins moving with a velocity that made the beholder stare; but the best part of the joke is, she was surrounded by four little humming-birds, each of which in turn had sipped the nectar of life from that same sweet Rose.

Copyright 1998, -- 2003. Berry Enterprises. All rights reserved. All items on the site are copyrighted. While we welcome you to use the information provided on this web site by copying it, or downloading it; this information is copyrighted and not to be reproduced for distribution, sale, or profit.

Contents Introduction Links Home